Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by royd, Feb 1, 2006.
Can someone let me know what the tonal differences are between these two amps?
I'd be curious as well. I'm thinking of building a Lightening soon.
I need to be carefull, first I may not answer your question, second I do not mean to badmouth any other amps but,
I LOVE my Lightning.
I t just freaking rocks!
I've never played a Spitfire but I have owned 3 Lightnings (and still have two). I think in their niche, they are the best amp out there. Ok, 'the best' is a little over the top but you know what I mean.
a friend of mine is thinking about building a lightning or a dc30 clone but he is worried that it will sound too "country". I think either one would serve him well, but I would love to know more about the amps
listen to the clips of the Franklin on my website and you're hearing 98% Lightning. There's some rock and blues stuff. Definitely won't sound country unless you're trying to make it sound country.
Where did he get that idea? In my mind, the DC/30 is one of the best rock amps I've heard. I've been to jazz concerts where they used a DC/30 and it sounded great. It can certainly do country (and quite well at that), but it is a very versatile amp.
Ive had both ,and although the lightbing has MORE tone shapeing ,i think the Spitfire to me is hands above the lightning .First of all the spitfire sounds HUGE , the harmonic content is just amaizing,and it sounds more like 25 watts .The simplity (like a 5e3 tweed Deluxe) Vol--Tone--but with a very complimentry Master vol.--its simple stupid!!And as ive been saying for a bit now ,the best dual el-84 amp out there,.
Don't worry about the Lightning being a country amp... it's certainly got the ability to be set up to do that, but really it's one helluva rockin' little amp!
I hear you guys on the simplicity of the spitfire, as a ghia has a similar simplicity. If I had to chose between the ghia and the lightning (similarly), I don't even know if I could make a decision other than flipping a coin. They're really as different as 2xEL84 amps can be...
I'm sure the spitfire and lightning are somewhat more similar than the ghia and the lightning, and not having played a spitfire, but if the differences are as much as the ghia v. lightning, then they're certainly different enough animals that one could easily justify having both.
Other notes on the Lightning (notes and suggestions if you're thinking about building one):
1) The master volume control is VERY cool on this amp, but it doesn't work the same as many master's I've experienced. It should really be looked at moreso as a way to control power section gain, and the other volume control should be looked at as the way to control preamp gain... If you need to tame the overall output volume, you can certainly do this by rolling back the Master, but that also reduces overall gain, so to get back to the same gain level you'd need to compensate by turning up the pre-amp Volume. Surprisingly, this is very effective, and doesn't impact the tone as negatively as on other Mast. Vol. amps. Point is, those two volume controls are highly interactive on the Matchless circuit.
2) The most useful control on my Lightning clone (and it's one that the original Matchless Lightnings don't have), is a push-pull pot Volume control that removes the bright cap from the circuit... This changes the amps voicing pretty drastically, and gives the amp more of a neutral/natural less-hyped tone (as opposed to the incredible hyped-up Matchless signature tone) than when the bright cap is in the circuit. This is also very useful if you're using od/dist/fuzz pedals with the amp, as the amp accepts pedals much better if that bright cap is switched out of the circuit.
3) Another control that the original Lightning doesn't have is a Midrange control pot. Yet another very useful way to add even more versatility to the Lightning's voicing, and you still have the stock voicing at about 11 o'clock on the midrange dial... Cut that midrange out some and take the bright cap out of the circuit, and you can dial up some sort-of blackface type cleans at nice volumes... Push that midrange control up to about 1-2 o'clock, and the amp gets a more marshall-like snarl. Interestingly enough, the midrange control also seems to act as a bit of a gain control, and is helpful if you want to push the mids a little harder to cut through the band mix a bit more. It's also highly interactive with the bass and treble controls, making the amp able to produce very useful sounds that the original lightnings could not.
So that's a bit of rambling, but I hope it helps in some way... AND --->
Bottom-line: I'm sure it'd be hard to go wrong with either amp. Just a question of if you need full EQ or not.
I do agree... my Lightnings master took some tome to learn. First it does not sound good just craning the first volume and turning the master down ... that setting really suck on these amps. I tend to run the volumes somewhat together and then turn the gain up or down depending on the application - clean: turn the master a little past the gain - Crunch turn the gain up just a little past the master - I love that tone.
Then there are the tone knobs... very interactive I find that they also afect gain and are very sensitive.
Off topic Question: have any of you tried a clubman?
Boogie92801 - Good rundown on the Lightning MV... right on the money!
That's a negative on playing a Clubman for me... I've never run across one, and I'm not usually an EL34 guy so I never sought one out. I truly dig Doug Pettibone's tones that he coaxes out of a Clubman though (guitar player for Lucinda Williams).